Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Senior Garden Party

Yesterday we hosted the annual dinner for that guy that I like so much's seniors...it's a fun time to do something a little special for them before they head out into the big exciting world.

But I've gotta say...this time around was a bit of a challenge.  First of all...a husband who wasn't able to be home to help until the party began.  Second..I had to work all day as well.  Third...this was more of a 'formal' party which takes a bit more work than a normal garden party and last?  

I'm sure there's a last but I can't think of it right now.

Let's see...there was a big green salad,  a ton and a half of stracotto (pot roast) with caramelized onions,  porcini mushroom risotto,  roasted green beans and fennel with pine nuts and goat cheese and for dessert?

Pizzelles.  Piles and piles of pizzelles. 


The garden is exceptionally beautiful this year and makes for such a pretty place to hold a party.  It's small but...I don't know.  Magical?  

At least to us.


Somehow, someway everything was finished and ready to go about 10 minutes before everyone (including that guy that I like so much) was to arrive...just long enough for me to change, throw on some lip gloss and have a glass of wine.


The party ended up being really fun and one of my favorite parts is where they share what is next in their life.  I remember that time...though when I was their age I had already been married 3 years and had a babe on the way.

That was a fun time, too.


It's now the day after and I've worked a crazy amount of hours, had lunch with a girlfriend (where we shared this banana, dried fruit and roasted pecan crepe at Old Vine Cafe which was outrageously amazing), shared a beer with my neighbor, ate pizza with the boys, walked the dog and tried (hard) to keep my eyeballs open long enough to write a bit.

Hello, Tuesday.  You've been good to me.



Monday, April 27, 2015

A Brand New Week

There's a change in the air around here...a sort of 'hey, summer is coming' kind of change.  That guy that I like so much is basically here to sleep and other than that is attending recitals and concerts and teaching and grading and basically doing all that he does for that ginormous salary he works so hard for.

Scratch that.  No ginormous salary.


But, if he plays his cards right he is able to take about 4 weeks off every summer.  That means everything has to be finished up from last year and and Christmas has to planned in June...so yeah,  don't be alarmed if you hear Silent Night (a hundred or so variations) being played in our little house on our little street when you walk on by.

Works for us.


Last week found us stepping up our parenting game with child #3 and as part of that, he was back on foot power rather than car power.  He's not as much fun to punish because he's watched and learned from the older two and gets exactly how to play us.  

Here's the deal...don't judge parents on how they parent because you never know which child in line they are parenting.  With our oldest two I blamed myself for every mistake they made because, well...it's all about me.  If I'd raised them correctly they would never need to make a mistake because I'd been a good enough mom to teach them everything and my boys were smart enough to listen and learn.

Yeah right.

It's so much sweeter with the last boy.  Also sweet?  Watching older brothers step in to parent.  In the end, the youngest (who takes a bit to apologize) has apologized and we're moving along until the next hiccup...which we all know will happen at some point.


Buddy the Dog spends all morning in this position looking out the window and barking at every dog who pees on his tree...which is pretty much 1,000 dogs.

And yes, he's still afraid of the great outdoors so this makes him feel tough.

This weekend was full of people in our little house on our little street...Matthew came home with Brianne and her sister and Emily (Alex's girlfriend) was here, too.  

Ladies and gentlemen...there is estrogen in the house.  I never thought it would happen but it has.  There are girls to talk to  and girl movies and oh me oh my...it's fun.


The youngest shrub, after taking 3 months to heal a torn hip flexor (I don't recommend that injury) is, as of this morning, back to playing his two sports at 75%.  I'm not sure exactly what 75% means other than I am losing one of my lunch partners and now get to worry anytime someone on the court or field comes near my boy.

Ah...these glasses and these cherries.  I'm loving 'vintage' bar glasses of any shape I can find...highball, lowball, coup.  Doesn't matter.  I'm thinking my summer will be spent at garage sales...or at least thinking about garage sales.  

That guy that I like so much is a resident mixologist and I'm a happy participant...fancy glassware makes it all the more fun.


I went running with my boys and they each lapped me three times.

Show offs.

It's Monday morning and it's supposed to be sunny and 80 degrees out.  I've got work to be done and then 15 college seniors coming for dinner, so I'll need to cook at some point...but I'm thinking a little quiet time in the sun will need to happen, too.

But first?


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Becoming Clear

This past weekend was a busy one...it was a major concert weekend for that guy that I like so much, our oldest was here performing, basketball season has started and there was just lots going on.  We (that guy that I like so much and I) snuck in a lunch and over vietnamese spring rolls (which I can't seem to get enough of...that SAUCE!) sat and stared at each other.


He was too tired to even talk.  I was too tired to even talk.  We just ate, stared, hugged goodbye and went our separate ways for the rest of the day.

Real life is groovy sometimes.


Our fridge needed a repair and in a moment of 'I am woman, hear me roar'...otherwise known as 'there is no way under the sun that I am going to give away any more money this month', I fixed it myself.  

OK...so I changed a few bulbs and now every time we open the doors we are blinded by the light and it seems to be the talk of the town.  We're nothing if not dramatic around these parts.

And here's where life takes another little side trip.  I've been a bit of a disaster lately...there's just been this heaviness that I haven't been able to explain.  Part of it is that life in our little house on our little street is in a place of transition and while I'm feeling prepared, there's this sense of not knowing that's not exactly been easy.

We've got a boy who is in the midst of leaving the nest in a very good but very permanent and faraway way and the timing is literally just a text message away.  As a mama...hard.  

And for me, it's caused me to think a lot.  And question a bit. 

I want everything to stay the same...but then again, I don't.  I'm not sure that makes sense but maybe to some it does.

So in the midst of a post concert getaway, we decided to spend a late afternoon at the happiest place on earth.  Just the two of us, sitting at the Cove Bar, eating lobster nachos and sipping cocktails.  We had lots to talk about and in the middle of one story or another a phone call came in that completely changed our little world as we now know it.  Again.  Because just when I feel like the floor underneath me is strong and my feet are planted...the boards crack.

And this time they broke.

We were stuck.  Literally.  We needed to get home and couldn't and in a moment of panic called our middle born boy who not only handled the situation but handled it in a way that I can't even explain.  That text message that he's waiting for...the one that will tell him to pack his bags and ship out, the one that has me so stressed out because of the change that it will bring, the one that just this morning I asked God (again) when and why and what the heck is the timing on all of this?  

It all became clear.  He was needed for this moment.   

And so now we are once again on high alert here in our little house on our little street, patching together a floor that has fallen out from underneath us.  I'll be honest...I'm weary.  Weary but hopeful...this parenting gig just never gets easier.  If not one thing, it's another...but man oh man, do we have people who love us and our little family.  

I'm realizing now that this disconnect I've been feeling...this distance from God that I haven't been able to explain has been a form of preparation of sorts.  In fact, it is so clear that it's almost like the new, blindingly bright light in our fridge.  He was strengthening me this whole time, getting me ready, waiting.  And when the call came that shook us once again to the core, there was this sense of peace amidst the panic.  

We've got all the tools to handle this.  The floor is cracked but it's nothing that can't be repaired.  Those repairs, quite frankly, are not exactly convenient and not exactly easy...but we've got a pretty great contractor heading this whole thing up.  

I'm thankful this morning.  There'll be some grumpiness that will come, too...pretty sure these boys of mine will never know how much sleep they've caused me to lose.  There's work to be done and a team to rally and a character to be molded.  All will be well.

Good morning, friends.  Let's do this.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Full House

I had lunch with a girlfriend and she was talking about how the days aren't just going fast but now the decades are...and it actually brought tears to my eyes.  It's true, though...I'm feeling the quickness of life,  too.   It's not all sad...it's fun and happy and crazy to watch it all unfold.

We went to church on a Sunday night and then took the two youngest boys for dinner.  It was just one of those nights...there weren't any cell phones or distractions and they were both exceptionally chatty.  I'm raising boys here and boys are hit and miss when it comes to sharing info...it's like a chess match that involves food and quirky music and knowing exactly when to not ask one too many questions.

I'm still learning that one.


Anyway, they were chatty and fun and after dinner we walked for gelato...it was almost as if they didn't want the night to end either.  Or so I like to tell myself.  In reality they were still hungry.

Whatever works.

Work has felt like work lately and I'm not sure if it's me being paranoid (or if it's just the ones who are whispering in my ear) but it just feels like something is going on behind the scenes.  It could just be rumblings but who knows.  I'm just plugging away, doing what I do, making it all work...and then putting it all to rest at the end of the day until the next morning.

I really like what I do...especially now that I kind of know what I'm doing.

Brian has been slowly working himself back into working out...he had a really severe injury at the end of February that has taken a long time to heal.  I've got a houseful of boys who don't eat anything processed and/or junk food (losers) but Bri has slipped back into his weakness...ice cream.

I had a bite of one of these and YUM.  Good thing they come in small boxes.

Matteo is home for the week and our little house on our little street is full of life and love and taunts and late nights and loud voices and balls being thrown and an overwhelming urge for me to go away to a spa.  A female, adult only, no loud voices spa.


Seriously, though...it's pretty fun and lively around here.  I'm the one wearing earplugs.

Buddy the Dog has become a 'real' dog...he now barks at every dog that pees on his front lawn and spends all his free time watching out the window for the next offender so he can try and scare them off with his big, ferocious bark.

I never, ever knew how much someone could love an animal.  I mean, he's 'just' a dog.  

If you're a dog owner, then you're smiling along with me right now.

I'm actually meeting that guy that I like so much for lunch today...a scheduled lunch where we can have a real face to face conversation.  A lunch that someone else is going to make and clean up.

I'm excited.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Easter, Revisited

Easter, as told in a bazillion pictures.  One little house, bursting at the seams. 

My peeps.  All were here.  I'll take it because times are changing and I'm clinging...clinging to them.  To the resurrection.  To the promise of eternity.

There was antipasto.  Always antipasto.  

I've mentioned this before but if you don't have Turkish neighbors then, well...your loss.

Baklava, which I tested just to make sure it was ok to serve.  I should have said it was awful, hid it away and saved it for myself.

Next year.


Eggs were hidden...and somehow found.

The food.  Oh my.  That guy that I like so much grilled veggies...many from our very own garden.

That bowl?  Found in a tiny shop in Italia where we watched it being painted and then carried it around for weeks like crazy people, only to have it almost not make it through airport security.

Worth it.

Turkish rice, which my boys would probably choose over my pasta.  In fact, I'd choose it, too.

Grilled lemon chicken and steak served over an arugula salad.

A prime rib thrown in for good measure.

And our garden.  Full...the way it should be.  We had 25 and the weather was warm and sunshiney and rather perfect.  

The annual bunny cake, post dissection, was served.

And then there were footballs thrown and flags tossed (think color guard) and card games played and a late night spent with the boys and their loves where they talked about growing up in this neighborhood and what it has meant to them.

That, my friends, was priceless and something I'll carry with my for all my days.

I think we've done ok.

I just kept looking around the whole day...looking at how every single person that walked in was such a part of who we are.  That I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.  That those late night talks, the ones that aren't planned and just happen, are what my heart was needing to hear...that they know just how much we love them and because of that, how much their heavenly father loves them.  That we know how to love them because of the way He loves...and that we are loved in all of our unperfectness.  That God doesn't stop loving us we aren't going to stop loving them.


What a great thing.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break 2015

Two of us were on spring break this past week...me and the youngest shrub in our little house on our little street.

He pretty much lived at the beach and I pretty much lived on the couch where I binge watched all 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls.  I never watched before and oh, I am so glad I finally did.  

In between, we lunched a few times, bought some new shoes and football gear and a few pairs of jeans, and thought about cleaning out his closet.

Key word...thought.

I hiked the brown, dry, dusty hills a few days and for the most part kept my eyes down looking for snakes...and when I allowed myself to look up I was greeted by the most beautiful sky ever.

Again, He whispers.

Look up, Michele.  Look up.

Thanks to SAT testing the college brochures (they sure make them look pretty!) are pouring in for the last of our houseful of boys.  He's not sure where yet but has an idea...all are within a few hours of us which makes my heart happy.  Next year is his senior year and I cannot believe it.  

Life...it's a changin' around these parts.  

I had grand plans for this spring break but exhaustion, both physical and emotional, won out and you know what?  It felt good to do nothing.  To not move, to not plan (other than meals), to not make any decisions.  My body needed this week and now I'm ready, more than ready, to head back out into the wild blue yonder.

Why is it we feel guilty if we take time to do absolutely nothing?

That guy that I like so much, on the other hand, has been working like a crazy person.  Tis the season for him.  He came home after a big rehearsal with a box of gift cards and I literally was jumping up and down (much needed after sitting on my couch for a week) when he opened it.  How fun is that?

Summer...it's coming.  I feel it.


Our gardens, both the big one and the little one, are bursting.  I, in a moment of I don't know what I was thinking, planted 6 zucchini plants and my oh my oh my...anyone need zucchini?


And now it's back to real life.  My alarm is set to go off in 20 minutes and even though it is dark outside, the week is beginning and work needs to be done.  That spring break though?  Pretty great.  


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Full House

I played matchmaker with my favorite mechanic and Alex's girlfriend, Emily and she is now the proud owner of a new (to her) car.  New cars are fun....especially when it's someone else's money.


 Church this week with the youngest of my houseful.  He still hasn't caught on that we're not cool and at the age of 16, is growing up way too fast.  The talk lately is of college because (gulp) by this time next year he will be (hopefully) opening his acceptance letters.

I'm not ready.  But I am.  It's fun to watch them fly.

The other night I made dinner for my family and then ran out the door for wine and cheese and then (score!) leftover Turkish food at my neighbors house.  Sometimes you just need to escape from boy land and hang out with girls because as much as I love my boys, they also can drive me a bit batty.


The oldest shrub and his girlfriend are here for the week.  I'm happy.  Very, very happy.  (But we miss you, Emily.)

My girlfriend Katharine's dad was a one of kind person.  He was bigger than life and has influenced us in so many ways...he called his wife his 'bride' until the end, believed in lunches out, convertibles, grand european travels with kids in tow on a teachers salary, cocktails, more cocktails, and just the living of life as an adventure.  He was a Pastor who mentored so many and was a huge part in the planting of the university where that guy that I like so much teaches...PLUS, he raised a really great daughter who is the female version of her dad.

Life is short.  



That guy that I like so much and I are both off today...there's errands to be run and a lunch out to be eaten and a garden to sit in.  There's also church tonight and a houseful of people in our little house on our little street.

We're packed to the gills and it's pretty lively.  I'm holding on to this because these times are changing and I'm not sure how many more holidays we'll all have together for the next few years.  

So I'm cooking.  Lots. And watching.  Lots.  And listening.  Lots.  

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